Students in international marketing and international business classes are in the middle of projects that require them to know where to find information to help businesses export and import products and services to and from foreign markets. The “devil is in the details” once students have defined their target markets and the countries with which they will be doing business. Finding tariff, licensing, transportation companies, distributors, etc. is often a bit more difficult. Here are some sources for locating such information:
Start with the terms. Terms such as duty, tariff, and harmonized system can be confusing to the uninitiated. The GlobalEdge International Business Terms Glossary is a helpful resource for understanding what it is that you are really looking for when working with an unfamiliar term. The U.S. Department of Transportation Glossary of Shipping Terms is another useful site for deciphering terms.
Export.gov, a site managed by the International Trade Administration in cooperation with other U.S. departments and agencies, is a portal containing links to Export Basics and Frequently Asked Questions such as:
Is there a tariff duty that applies to my product in a foreign country? and
What is a Harmonized System (HS) classification number, the Schedule B number, and is there a difference between the two numbers?
This site also has information on shipping your product overseas, including a page explaining the services of a freight forwarder.
The U.S. International Trade Commission site contains the HTS Online Reference Tool providing access by chapter to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. This site also provides a link to the ITC Trade Dataweb with access to trade data with customized reports.
Last, but not least, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection site has a page with basic importing and exporting information.
If you are exporting to particular countries and need information on a particular country’s regulations, import licensing requirements, tariffs, and duties or if you want to find a contact in the country, try the Exporters’ Encyclopaedia on reserve at the Access Services desk in the library or the International Marketing Data and Statistics or European Marketing Data and Statistics reference books.
Remember to ask a reference librarian if you need more assistance finding sources of information on importing from and exporting to foreign countries!